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How are we called to support foster care?

National Foster Care Month: We can all make a difference

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I feel called to ____ ...” many times before. We hear people say they felt called to foster, adopt, serve through mission trips internationally and many other things. But have you ever stopped to realize most things Christians feel “called” to are actually designed for all Christians, not just a select few?
What we don’t always realize is that the calling can look different for different people.

Isaiah 1:17 tells us, "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."

This is just one of many verses that calls us to look after the fatherless, to do right and to seek justice. So if we are to answer the call the Bible has placed on all of us as believers, what does that mean when it comes to foster care?
You may not be in a position to foster right now, but you can offer a hand.

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to support and give thanks to current foster families as well as encourage and recruit new foster families.

Supporting foster care through your church, organization or individually

Support may look like advocating to become a foster-friendly church. Churches are great places to build a village for foster families by connecting members with resources about fostering, creating a supply closet for foster families, providing financial support for added expenses, training members for babysitting or substitute care, setting up meal trains for foster families, or being intentional with your prayers for the children and families.

As an individual one of the most beneficial things you can do is get trained to offer respite care, substitute care or babysitting. To babysit a child in foster care, you must undergo special training and certifications. This means a foster family can’t just ask their neighbor or aunt to watch their kids, they have to find a qualified and approved individual. There are three types of training offered for those willing to watch and care for foster families:

  1. Babysitting: Provide relief care for up to 12 hours to children in placement with foster care.
  2. Substitute Care: Provide relief care for eight to 72 hours to children in placement with other foster families, typically when the foster families need a short break or have a family emergency.
  3. Respite Care: Provide relief care for longer than 72 hours to children in placement with other foster families, usually on weekends or during vacation periods. 

Answering the call to become a foster parent or family

For those of you exploring the idea of becoming a foster family, Buckner offers free informational meetings. During these meetings, you will hear from Buckner staff about the process and have the opportunity to ask questions as you learn more about our organization.

Supporting those in foster care
The process of becoming a foster parent can be tedious, but it’s 100% worth it. Many times new families wonder what all it takes to be a foster parent. After an informational meeting, you will:

  1. Complete and submit the preliminary application
  2. Have an initial interview
  3. Begin pre-service training
  4. Work on submitting your required documentation
  5. Complete a home study
  6. Obtain your licensure (after all is complete and if you are approved)

What does foster care through Buckner look like?

Buckner offers a few different types of foster care. As you begin the process of fostering, we encourage you to research and pray about what program might be the best fit for you or what you feel most called to. For example, therapeutic care, sibling groups and older youth are constantly in need of more foster parents.
The programs we offer are:

  • Foster-to-adopt: Provide temporary homes that meet a child’s basic developmental needs, including a loving family, nutrition, clothing, a feeling of belonging, safety, socialization, interpersonal skills, care for personal health and hygiene, extra supervision and education.
  • Therapeutic foster care: Children in the therapeutic foster care program have moderate to significant social, emotional, behavioral or unmet physical needs requiring the extra care and attention of a loving caregiver. These children need foster parents who believe caring for the most vulnerable children in foster care is their mission. 

  • Kinship care: Buckner supports families caring for relatives, or in some jurisdictions close family friends, placed in foster care by providing financial and support services, as well as connections to needed resources.

Learn more about National Foster Care Month.

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